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The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid Audiobook

The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

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Publisher's Summary

Bill Bryson's hilarious memoir of growing up in middle America in the Fifties, complete, unabridged, and read by the author.

Born in 1951 in the middle of the United States, Des Moines, Iowa, Bill Bryson is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24 carat memoir gold. Like millions of his generation, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero. In his case, he ran around the house wearing a jersey with a thunderbolt on it and a towel round his neck that served as his cape, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and vanquishing evildoers (in his head) as The Thunderbolt Kid.

Using his old fantasy life as a springboard, Bill Bryson recreates the life of his family in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality. In a period that saw the inexorable rise of television, the opening of Disneyland, the testing of the atomic bomb, and the explosion of choice in everything from food to cars, Bill Bryson's days followed in reassuringly cosy succession, enlivened by modest triumphs and disasters.

Warm and laugh-out-loud funny, The Thunderbolt Kid is full of Bill Bryson's inimitable, pitch-perfect observations and this unabridged recording contains every single amusing anecdote and amazing fact. Nothing is left out, so you can enjoy the whole book in its entirety, read by Bill Bryson himself.

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (219 )
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4.3 (116 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Robyn 12-05-11
    Robyn 12-05-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    6
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    Performance
    Story
    "Delightful and entertaining"

    I enjoyed this very much, chuckled all the way through and was almost sorry when it finished. It was a bonus having the author read his own work. Thank you for sharing your childhood adventures with your reading public!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Greg Dublin, Ireland 11-29-11
    Greg Dublin, Ireland 11-29-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A pleasure"
    What made the experience of listening to The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid the most enjoyable?

    Not been American


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The father, proving fathers are the same world wide


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    from the horse's mouth


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, styled that one could dip and out, therefore, prolonging the pleasure


    Any additional comments?

    Marvelous insight into growing up in small town America in the 50/60's

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rajesh Johanneburg, South Africa 12-12-11
    Rajesh Johanneburg, South Africa 12-12-11 Member Since 2016

    Legal Thrillers, crime, fiction. humor and a bit of management sprinkled with some self improvement. All through Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    71
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    6
    1
    Overall
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    Story
    "Only Americans Please"

    If it is funny, it is only for the American. It is not like his earlier books. Not a classic global book which everyone can enjoy.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leslie Grey McCawley 01-16-07 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too many icky bits"

    I have enjoyed Bryson's other books but this one is an in-your-face reminder of how actually disgusting little boys can be - his loving and graphic descriptions of the things boys get up to had me almost sick; I had to stop listening. Some listeners may delight in remembering the sheer ickiness of childhood experience, but I didn't.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
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  • Mrsmcnair
    Scotland
    6/26/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The times I wish I lived in"

    Bill Bryson at his best. This was made better for me by the fact that it was narrated by Bill himself, although going off other reviews I realise he's not to everyone's taste. This is a happy, funny, comfort blanket of a book, telling of a time when it was so fortunate to be a child. You genuinely will laugh out loud at some of Bill and his gang's exploits, and the Thunderbolt Kid can't fail to brighten your day. Five stars, Bill.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    5/30/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "'50s in Full Colour"

    A humorous and entertaining voyage: growing up in prosperous, post-war, middle America. With all its attendant wonders and disturbing normalcy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alistair
    KIRKWALL, United Kingdom
    10/13/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Thunderbolt Kid."
    What did you like most about The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid?

    What I enjoyed most about this book was Bryson's style of writing.

    He successfully manages to combine endearingly bizarre anecdotes about unusual inventions of the 50s such as missile mail, television brand underwear and other similar examples with two things.

    Firstly sincerely heartfelt reminisces of the joys of childhood long gone such as Bishop's diner, Mary O'Leary and all the effort boys and girls had to go to entertain themselves mixed in with interesting - travelogue style as is Bryson's forte - factoids about America in the period.

    His style of writing sucks you in and entertains in a way that a more historical or dryly written memoir would never be able to even if you weren't alive during the period such as myself. This book gave me tears of laughter almost every chapter. I could not recommend this book any higher. You will not regret your purchase!


    What about Bill Bryson’s performance did you like?

    Firstly the book being read by the author allows for all statements be they dryly serious or laugh yourself senseless funny to be read with exactly the intended inflections. Bill's genuine sincerity in the memoir comes out in his style of narration which is read at a pace that makes this a perfect 'slippers by the fire' recording. I greatly enjoyed the performance and believed I would not have laughed as hard if the book was narrated by someone other than Bill.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes! I never wanted to stop listening to the point I would stay up far later than normal just to enjoy more of Bill Bryson's humour. This book is fantastic!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Michael
    7/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Humour beyond the Words"
    What did you like most about The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid?

    Great book alone, made better by Bill Bryson reading his own work


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Thunderbolt Kid - it's the childhood alter ego of Bryson himself


    Which character – as performed by Bill Bryson – was your favourite?

    As above, since it was Bryson in real life


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Mostly laughter, serious points do bring you back, making the humour all the more enjoyable


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • NH Stevens
    South Devon
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Laughing through the 1950's"
    Where does The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This book, perhaps especially for Americans like myself, is a priceless review of the glory days of America in the 1950's, a time of unprecedented prosperity, movement and a consumerism which took hold and never let go. Bill Bryson's account of growing up in these delicious times is funny, poignant and an unbeatable record of a life experience which can never repeated. A hilarious and informative read. One of the best.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Bill Bryson's sense of mischievous naughtiness, with ever a twinkle in his voice, as he describes a small boy growing up in a typical American household of the thriving Fifties.


    Which character – as performed by Bill Bryson – was your favourite?

    Bill Bryson reads his own material, which gives it a specific tenor and element of humour, as he clearly enjoying re-living his glorious 1950's childhood and remembering his friends and parents and their friends.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Most definitely!


    Any additional comments?

    Bill Bryson is very much a writer for the ordinary person - nothing intellectual, just sharply -observed comments on everyday life, but always historically accurate and always information. He has a knack for putting you right in there with him as he recounts his crazy adventures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nicky
    Bray, Ireland
    9/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book was laugh out loud, hilarious. Even better that Bryson is reading it himself. Completely loved it and highly recommend it


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Bryson describing his Moms cooking


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me laugh so much, it made me cry


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • D. Mands
    UK
    3/7/13
    Overall
    "Funny journey through small town 50s American life"

    This book is awesome Bryson. His gentle but really belly laugh humour are at their best here. If A Short History of Nearly Everything is not your bag then make this your first stop on route Bryson. It will have you hooked.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss
    Leeds, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Excellent anecdotes from Bill himself"

    This audiobook was a delight to listen to on my commute. It was a pleasure to hear Bill's childhood anecdotes being relayed by the author himself, and really was laugh out loud funny in parts. Highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Narny
    Lincoln, United Kingdom
    8/22/12
    Overall
    "Funny, nostalgic and factual. Brilliant!"

    Although being a fan of Mr Bryson, I stupidly deferred reading this book as I thought it would be something I couldn't relate too i.e. too American and an era before my time. However I finally relented and discovered I had made a big mistake. I can easily relate to the lost childhood and nostalgic sentiments he makes (as we all will of a certain age). This booking is two quarters hilarious (glad to see Catts ‘back’ on form), a quarter sad and a quarter factual. I was really sad to finish listening to it.

    I strongly recommend this book to both fans of Bill Bryson and as a first time reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Apocalypse
    UK
    1/27/12
    Overall
    "Worth every penny"

    Laugh out loud funny, an intensly enjoyable listen, brilliant. How does Bill Bryson do it, just a man with a great sense of humour and a wonderful way of putting on paper or into your ears.

    KK

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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